Some time ago, we saw that Jesus was not looking for the perfect woman. While there are virtues in women that would be pleasing to our Father, Jesus’ actions toward the women He met shows us that even if we fall short of His ideal, He still deals graciously and mercifully with us. So what about men? Are men held to a higher standard? Or do men enjoy the same grace and mercy from our Father?

Paul, in his letter to Titus, spelt out the characteristics which were desirable in those who were to be appointed as elders.

“[These elders should be] men who are of unquestionable integrity and are irreproachable, the husband of [but] one wife, whose children are [well trained and are] believers, not open to the accusation of being loose in morals and conduct or unruly and disorderly.” Titus 1:6 [AMPC]

It would seem that only upright individuals need apply. Not only that, they needed to be traditional men, have traditional inclinations conforming to accepted social norms. And not only that, their children needed to display the fruit of their good upbringing.

The criterion was certainly comprehensive and thoroughly thought through. Not only did you need to talk, you needed to walk the talk; and your own public actions were not enough, the quality of your fruit, your children, were also to be used as a measure of your true character. So homosexuals, polygamists, parents of terrible twos and rebellious teens, even infertile men, need not apply, or so it would seem.

And isn’t it strange that the characteristics of the outward package are listed before the qualities of the person? But I guess there is good reason for that. We have seen too many individuals who do a good job of walking the talk on the outside. They know just how to cross the t’s and dot the i’s in public but their home life is a mess. They make such a big show about ministering to their parishioners and being there for them that they leave their wives alone to care for their infant children. Some of them even get so involved with ministering to the people, that they get involved with the people they are ministering to.

So the proof of the pudding is in the tasting; and the proof of a man’s character is in the quality of his family. Yet, there are qualities that are desirable in a man.

“For the bishop (an overseer) as God’s steward must be blameless, not self-willed or arrogant or presumptuous; he must not be quick-tempered or given to drink or pugnacious (brawling, violent); he must not be grasping and greedy for filthy lucre (financial gain);” Titus 1:7 [AMPC]

The words of Kenny Roger’s The Gambler come to mind when I read this.

‘Know when to hold ‘em,
Know when to fold ‘em,
Know when to walk away,
Know when to run.’

No, I’m not suggesting that God is looking for good gamblers, but those characteristics would make a world-class poker player, wouldn’t it? Without error, without ego, without a temper, without greed. Clinical, methodical and purposeful.

And many of us can pull it off too. We can control ourselves in public so that we come across altogether clam, collected, purposeful and even righteous. But how many of us can honestly say, in our heart of hearts, that we have never committed those sins in our minds or in our hearts? And you know what Jesus said about sins in the heart and mind.

“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.” Matthew 5:21-22 [MSG]

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28

Oops. Men, we got our work cut out for us, haven’t we? And it gets worse.

“But he must be hospitable (loving and a friend to believers, especially to strangers and foreigners); [he must be] a lover of goodness [of good people and good things], sober-minded (sensible, discreet), upright and fair-minded, a devout man and religiously correct, temperate and keeping himself in hand.” Titus 1:8 [AMPC]

To those around us, we are to be giving, generous and kind. Be a lover of good people and good things, sober, fair and the rest that is mentioned. Essentially, we are to be ‘push-overs’ without being ‘push-overs’, if you know what I mean. And spiritually,

“He must hold fast to the sure and trustworthy Word of God as he was taught it, so that he may be able both to give stimulating instruction and encouragement in sound (wholesome) doctrine and to refute and convict those who contradict and oppose it [showing the wayward their error].” Titus 1:9 [AMPC]

Be a warrior for God, a stalwart of the faith, a defender of God’s laws and precepts, a wise teacher and an effective counselor.

But let’s get real. How many of us can say with all certainty that we are able to hold all these qualities, all of the time, under all circumstances and situations? So what is to become of us who fall short then?

Well beloved, the first thing that we need to remember is that when it comes to being beyond reproach, not even God’s great men were able to keep it all together all of the time. Remember Noah?

“Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:9

And that was why God chose Noah to inherit the earth after God had cleaned it up. Yet, after the flood was over,

“And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.
So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him. Then he said:
“Cursed be Canaan;
A servant of servants
He shall be to his brethren.”” Genesis 9:20-25

He got drunk, momentarily lost his civility, and when he awoke and learnt of all that has happened, not only had no remorse, but cursed his grandson. Not really what we would call an upright man of God, was He? Check the list of desirable traits again.

“For the bishop (an overseer) as God’s steward must be blameless, not self-willed or arrogant or presumptuous; he must not be quick-tempered or given to drink or pugnacious (brawling, violent); he must not be grasping and greedy for filthy lucre (financial gain);” Titus 1:7 [AMPC]

He was given to drink and he was quick-tempered; and I don’t know about you, but his lack of remorse when he woke up and his actions reeks of arrogance, doesn’t it?

Then what about Abraham? Remember how he responded when God told him that he would be blessed with a son?

“Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”” Genesis 17:17

Not exactly someone who was able to

“…hold fast to the sure and trustworthy Word of God as he was taught it, so that he may be able both to give stimulating instruction and encouragement in sound (wholesome) doctrine and to refute and convict those who contradict and oppose it [showing the wayward their error].” Titus 1:9 [AMPC]

Then what about Moses? Alright, so he was a little doubtful in the beginning and was therefore a little reluctant to take up the heavy responsibility of freeing Israel. After all, doing that meant going against Pharaoh’s family, the family who raised him. But after all that has been said and done, after all the miracles that our Father had worked in His life, when the time came for him to merely extract water from stone,

“And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.” Numbers 20:10-11

Talk about aggression, arrogance and a quick-temper. That attitude was certainly uncalled for, especially when we remember that this was what our Father instructed.

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.” Numbers 20:7-8

But instead of speaking, Moses took it upon himself to vent his anger on the people and struck the rock twice.

Yet, our Father used these men mightily. And there were many others, David, Peter, Jonah, Gideon, all of whom would perhaps not fit perfectly into Paul’s prescribed criterion but who were nonetheless used to great effect by God for the furtherance of His kingdom. So what does that tell us? What was so special about them? They certainly were not perfect, and perhaps no less a sinner than we are. Yet what was it about them that enabled them to be used to such great effect?

Simply put, beloved, they had a heart for God.

“To the pure [in heart and conscience] all things are pure, but to the defiled and corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are defiled and polluted.” Titus 1:15 [AMPC]

For even if “They profess to know God [to recognize, perceive, and be acquainted with Him], but deny and disown and renounce Him by what they do; they are detestable and loathsome, unbelieving and disobedient and disloyal and rebellious, and [they are] unfit and worthless for good work (deed or enterprise) of any kind.” Titus 1:16 [AMPC]

You see, we can only judge what is inside a man by what he is able to produce on the outside. But remember what our Father said to Samuel?

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”” 1 Samuel 16:7

Our Father looks at the heart. So you have one too many drinks once in awhile, but your heart is still for Him, and that is what matters. So you lose control and flip over a table once in awhile, but your heart is still for Him, and that is what matters. It would be better for you to still have bad habits which surface once in awhile but have a heart that wants to change for God; than to have a perfect veneer on the outside but on the inside, you are constantly looking out for only yourself. For if you are of the former kind, there is still hope

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

And when your heart is aligned with Him and His will, even though your body takes awhile to follow, it is still true that

“…by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

So your transformation is just around the corner,

“for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13

Beloved, Jesus is not looking for the perfect man, because there really is only one who is perfect, and that is Jesus. What Jesus is really looking for is where your heart is. What He is really interested in is where your heart is aligned to. For remember that our Father said,

“My son, do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands;
For length of days and long life
And peace they will add to you.” Proverbs 3:1-2

When your heart keeps His commands, even though your body is slow to follow, follow it will in time. So do the only thing you need to and align your heart with His. Seek His will for your life and let Him transform you and make you even better than what you can imagine you could ever be.

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